Howard County Library, in partnership with Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City and Howard County Public Schools, announces the seventh annual Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest for all Howard County public, private and homeschooled 7th grade students.
Students are asked to read the Sherlock Holmes short story, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” and write a five-paragraph analytical essay according to the rules and guidelines of the contest. Students may download a booklet that includes the story, pre-reading activities, a glossary of British terms, specific essay questions, the rubric which will be used in judging the essays and a contest entry form.
Teachers who choose to have their classes participate will forward to Watson’s Tin Box the top two essays from each of his/her classes. Home schooled students may send their essay to the Watson’s Tin Box address listed in the booklet.
Essays must be received by Watson’s Tin Box by June 1, 2011. Prizes will be awarded for the best three essays. Winners will be announced at an awards presentation in June 2011 at Howard County Library.
Special thanks to contest sponsor and creator, Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City.
The Howard County Library Chess Tournament provides an opportunity for students to meet and compete with other students who share their enthusiasm for this classic board game. All participants will receive fabulous prizes.
Courtney Gardinier – Howard County Library Miller Branch
Do you have students that like to read and are looking for a new way to express their appreciation for favorite titles? They can decorate a cake to look like a book cover!
They can help us celebrate the International Edible Book Festival and Howard County Library’s Fourth Annual Edible Books Contest at the Miller Branch on Wednesday, March 30 at 7 pm. The contest is simple: bake and decorate a cake to look like your favorite book. All decorations must be edible, and all cakes must be made and decorated by you.
Courtney Gardinier – Miller Branch
The Fourth Annual Edible Books Contest is on its way! Maybe you have students who are avid readers who would be be interested in entering, but who aren’t as confident in their decorating skills as they are in their reading skills.
They can visit Miller Branch on Tuesday, March 15at 7 pm to learn how to decorate a cake like a professional. All the edible masterpieces can be entered into the Edible Books Contest on Wednesday, March 30.
Register online or call 410-313-1950.
Courtney Gardinier – Miller Branch
We like to find cool and interesting ways to keep students motivated to read, as well as refer back to time-honored classics. Scavenger hunts have always been popular, but have your students check out our updated version. Students can answer questions about their favorite books for a chance to win a $50 gift card to a favorite bookstore.
Here’s how it works:
-Visit hclibrary.org/hunt for the list of selected titles and trivia questions.
-Read any of the books.
-Complete the questions for that book.
-Submit your answers to any Howard County Library branch.
Entries with at least eight correct answers will be submitted to the national contest for monthly drawings. This is a country-wide hunt, but you can come into your local Howard County Library branch to get the questions. The hunt is on starting Thursday, December 2!
Amy Stephens – Howard County Library, Glenwood Branch
Howard County Library invites students in grades 4 – 8 to participate in its seventh annual Spelling Bee, the winner of which advances to the National Bee in Washington, DC. All public, private and homeschool associations with students in appropriate grade levels can hold classroom and/or school bees between November 1 and January 31. Winners of those contests advance to the Howard County Library Spelling Bee held in March.
Participation in a spelling bee fosters many skills:
- Students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English. As a result, they read and write more effectively and score higher on standardized test and college prep tests and beyond. The impact lasts a lifetime.
- Children learn the etymology of words, the country of origin, meanings of prefixes and suffixes, and spelling rules.
- By studying words grouped in thematic categories, spellers not only acquire knowledge but also develop cognitive skills and increased understanding of ideas and values.
- Students develop cultural and intellectual literacy.
- Children of all ages, creeds, and races can participate on an equal, competitive basis.
- Spelling bees improve spelling and spark interest among the students.
- Spelling bees create friendly, sportsmanlike rivalry among the schools.
Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest
All seventh grade students in Howard County.
Read the Sherlock Holmes story, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” and write a five-paragraph analytical essay about it.
It’s fun! It’s interesting! There are prizes awarded to the top three writers! Also, it enhances understanding of the mystery
and suspense genres, and offers a chance to hone writing skills.
All entries are due by June 1, 2011.
More details and contest packets are available online.
This contest is offered in partnership with Watson’s Tin Box and HCPSS.
Walt Whitman wrote:
What does it all mean poet?
Well, Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
What we felt only; you express’d
You hold thing beautiful the best
and pace in them in rhythm so,
side by side
Do you know any budding Walt Whitmans? Do you encourage a love of word smithing and playing with language?
Students in grades 6 – 12 can enter up to three original poems (no more than 60 lines each) in Howard County Library’s Word Up! Poetry Contest. A Word Up! Educators Resource brochure with writing exercises and other resources is available for teachers online.
Poems are judged by a committee on their originality and language use, among other criteria. Deadline for entries is March 16. All winners will be invited to read their poems on April 28 and will receive cash awards, sponsored by Friends of Howard County Library.
All winning poems are posted on the Library’s web site. Students may qualify for only one prize in each category.
Category 1: Grades 6 & 7
Category 2: Grades 8 & 9
Category 3: Grades 10 – 12
Today I am a storm.
A whirlwind of emotion
I can’t hold it inside
–from Today by Gillian Engelbrecht
Does this describe any of your students? Encourage them to put their thoughts and feelings in a poem and enter the 2010 Word Up! Poetry Contest. The contest begins on January 11, and is open to Howard County students in grades 6 through 12. View complete contest details and the 2009 winning poems.
For ideas on incorporating Word Up! into your lesson plans, flip through our Word Up! Educator Resource brochure.
Katie George - Howard County Library Administration
Folly Quarter Middle School GT students need to choose an above grade level detective novel to read for an individual project. Agatha Christie and Sir Aruthur Conan Doyle were two suggestions made by their teacher.
This is a tricky assignment. While there are many detective stories that contain challenging, above grade level reading, many of these stories also contain sophisticated content. How can students make the best choice?
Talking to a Library staff member is a great place to start! We love to make reading suggestions…like the Eyre Affair. You can see more of our suggestions at Highly Recommended.
More independent readers might want to try Novelist. Novelist contains reviews and summaries of thousands and thousands of books. You can search by author, title, or subject. If you find an author you like, Novelist will even choose authors that write similar books. For example, Novelist suggests M.C. Beaton as an author similar to Agatha Christie.
And now’s a great time for a reminder about the Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest. Read the classic Holmes short story, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, then write an essay related to the story. Full contest details, including essay suggestions and prizes, are available on our web site.